And you don't have to. You shouldn't. Marketing, rather than being a flood of information about you and yours, should be a steady drip, drip, drip, like watering a delicate plant, not hosing down an elephant.
I've spent my adult life working with automation and efficiency using computers so any time there's a task with repeatable steps, I look for a way to make those repeating parts automatic. It allows me to spend my time on the unique bits, the parts I can do better than a computer because they require creativity or special knowledge.
Automating and scheduling your online marketing is smart. Create messages (that's the 'unique to you' bit) and schedule them in a single monthly session. (We use and recommend Hootsuite but there are a number of social media automation tools available.)
You still have to check in daily to interact with the real human beings who touch your social media messages, but you don't have to be online 24/7 to keep your message (remember those 80/20 principles, both of them) in front of potential readers and fans.
How does the 80/20 principle apply in social media marketing? In short, it means that about 20% of your messages are self-promotion, ‘buy-my-book’ messages and 80% of your messages are generous, sharing what your audience finds valuable and informative.
This is important for authors trying to promote their books. If your audience sees the majority of your messages are self-promotion, they will quickly lose interest. Turn that around. Make the majority of your messages generous, information sharing.
Ask yourself: what does my reader want? What does my reader need? Then share! What you share can be tips from your book. That will encourage your audience to buy your book whether or not you specifically promote it. Also share links to other helpful information provided from other sources.
The 80/20 numbers are not carved in stone. It's not a rule. It’s a principle. The important thing is to remember this principle in all your social media marketing.
Share more than you promote.
Note from Joel
While this is not really an application of the Pareto Principle wherein most of our results come from a small portion of our effort, it's convenient to reuse the numbers 80 and 20 partly because they'll be easy to remember. But hey, perhaps we'll write another post about applying the Pareto Principle in your marketing efforts, because it definitely applies.
Every year we notice a slump from the beginning of December through the weekend of the Super Bowl. In December, everyone spends their money on things other than business expenses. Then, in January, everyone stops spending altogether.
We've learned over the years that December is the natural time for us to spend a week off work, analyzing the year's activities, what worked well and why, and planning for the coming year. We set business and personal goals, then follow up all year long, monthly, quarterly, and again at year end.
We've also learned that expending effort marketing in January can be a complete waste of time—if we do it wrong. January is the time to keep it very personal, stay on people's radar, share freely, to make our marketing message "We understand you're not ready right now, but when you are, we'll be ready, too, and here's why we might be a good match when it's time." (That's not as succinct as I'd like.)
It's the Tuesday after the big game, and things are going to get back to normal. That means marketing can serve not just to stay on folks' radar, but to educate and attract, moving the right people toward our offerings, turning into the fun and games of doing business. (If you're not having fun marketing your book and your business, let's talk, shall we?)
Being passionate souls, writers have a tendency to over promise, over commit and just plain try too hard.
When facing a challenging task, it's human nature to try to swallow the elephant in one gulp. Every "getting things done" specialist in the world tells us that's wrong — and yet we persist. If you want a jump start on eating the elephant, start with one tiny bite.
If you're 12 years behind on your book, it's easy to assume that it will take four hours a day for the next 10 years to catch up. And what happens is you spend four hours a day worrying about writing and zero hours a day doing it. If you missed yesterday's post on habits and rituals go back and read it. Then we'll talk about why a 5-minute timer is such a great habit-building tool.
This all-or-nothing perspective makes habit-building a real challenge. … more … "Timer (#3 of 6 Tools to Get You Writing)"
One of the greatest advantages of being a virtual assistant is the freedom it gives in terms of location. You can literally sit anywhere in the world as long as you are connected and have a place to work from! But in the same way that assistants are more mobile, so are clients. Meetings are as likely to be scheduled with Cambodia as Kansas these days, and not to mention the business travel that goes with it.
With this increasing mobility also comes the increasing complexity of managing multiple time zones. Scheduling a meeting with more than two time zones can be a real pain, trying to find a time that is not in the middle of the night for anyone. Fortunately there are plenty of handy little apps to help with that, one such addition is myMeetingTime.com which makes scheduling meetings across time zones a breeze.
- Ability to add as many locations as you like
- Works with cities, countries and the most common time zone abbreviations
- Automatically recommends you the best time for your chosen locations, to adjust it you simply drag the bubbles along the time line
- Highlights if the selected time is within the "business hours" for all participants (no more call suggestions!)
- Makes it easy to share the selected time, either by copying it to an email or sharing a link to the view
How to use it
Using myMeetingTime.com is very simple:
First, set the host location by starting to type in the input boxes. The system automatically guesses which location you are trying to type so just hit "enter" when the right one shows up. Then enter all the participating locations, you can enter as many as you like. myMeetingTime will now recommend you a time that works for all the chosen participants. If you would like to adjust the suggested time, simply drag the big blue bubble along the timeline until you find a suitable time.
Once you've found a set of times you like you may either share it via email by clicking on the "Share via email" button and copy the text to your email, or you may share a link to the view, using the "Share as link" button. Sharing a link means that your recipient will see exactly the same time suggestion that you have on your screen, making it easy to communicate about. If you often need to convert times between the same time zones, you can add those times to the timeline and then create a link and bookmark that link. That way you don't have to keep entering the same locations over and over!
This information was provided by David from myMeetingTime. David came across my Twitter profile and noticed I offer a lot of good advice for virtual assistants. He wondered if his new little app for managing meetings across time zones would be valuable for my network. I asked him to provide us with more information so we could write a blog post about his app and share the link to it.
I'm excited to have such a quick, easy way to manage meeting times now. Give it a try and share your thoughts below.